Taking serious note of fire incidents in electric vehicles (EVs), the Union Transport Ministry has asked two-wheeler EV makers to not launch new models till the probe into the multiple instances of fire is completed.
The ministry conveyed its decision at a meeting with the manufacturers recently. The Economic Times quoted a ministry official to say that the order was passed verbally. The ministry also told the EV two-wheeler manufacturers to recall the entire batch of vehicles if one vehicle from the batch was involved in a fire incident. In case the Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEMs fail to comply, the government can invoke provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act to force the said recalls.
The OEMs who haven’t had any vehicles involved in the said fire instances too have been told to take remedial measures on the sold vehicles.
The electric vehicle makers have also been told to educate users about safe charging methods and precautions to be taken to prevent fire.
As per reports, EV manufacturers are in the process of recalling nearly 7,000 vehicles, following a statement from Union Road Transport and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari warning of heavy penalties on manufacturers who continue to produce faulty vehicles. Gadkari said an expert committee has been constituted to enquire into the accidents that have occurred so far and suggest remedial steps.
20 Jitendra EVs (while in transit), three Pure EVs, two Okinawa EVs, one Ola and one Boom EV two-wheelers have caught fire so far, resulting in casualties, injuries and fear in the minds of lakhs of prospective buyers.
Ola Electric has voluntarily recalled a batch of 1,441 units of its electric two-wheelers; Okinawa Autotechh has recalled over 3,000 vehicles while PureEV has recalled 2,000 units. Citing preliminary assessment, Ola Electric has said the the fire incident of its vehicle was an isolated case, but promised it will conduct a detailed diagnostic and health check of its scooters.
Pratik Kamdar, co-founder of Neuron Energy which supplies Li-Ion and lead acid batteries to the EV two-wheeler and three-wheeler makers, said that several players in the business have set up manufacturing plants but have little knowledge about batteries. “Substandard quality cells are used by a majority of battery companies to manufacture battery packs with poorly installed BMS (battery management systems). This causes high energy density cells which lead to thermal runaway and increase the risk of fire,” Kamdar said.